In November 2019, Twitter CEO Jack Patrick Dorsey tweeted from Ethiopia’s Addis Ababa airport that he would move there. “Africa” For six months in 2020. His month-long high-profile tour of the continent, which he visited in Nigeria, Ghana, South Africa and Ethiopia, came to an end, and the billionaires were feeling uneasy. “Africa will define the future (especially the bitcoin one!),” He wrote. Covid will thwart his voyage, although in 2020 he was on the verge of execution on the Hamptons, and Hawaii, and on a yacht with Jay-Z, and in January 2021 he reportedly considered Should Donald Trump be banned from Twitter while on holiday in French Polynesia? . Then, two years and two days later, when he announced that he would become the second Messiah in Africa, Dorsey resigned as CEO. We never learned what that meant in “Africa.” We know that his imprisonment and failures in three of the four countries he initially visited will have a significant impact on his legacy on the continent.
In the West, under Dorsey’s rule from 2015 to 2021, Twitter often looked like an acidic, hateful, flaming dumpster fire. But what Westerners found was the platinum version of Twitter. This is a version made by people who take their civic issues seriously because these issues are theirs too. Misinformation, hate speech and manipulation on the platform is very bad in my corner of the world and Dorsey’s legacy in Africa is even more neglected and hypocritical than her legacy in the Western world.
In April 2021, almost 15 years after Twitter went live on the continent, the company announced that it would open its first physical presence in Africa, with its regional headquarters in Accra, Ghana. “Twitter is now on the continent,” Dorsey tweeted. Ghana flag emoji. Yet its presence is weak. The Twitter job opportunities listed in Accra were huge in advertising, engineering and communications. It is unknown at this time what he will do after leaving the post. In fact, Twitter’s sub-Saharan Africa policy management team is based in Europe. Like Google and Facebook before them, it became increasingly clear that this new development would hardly help Africans defend their freedom of expression or step back against dictatorial regimes. Twitter’s Africa headquarters is not about Africans. It is effectively a colonial outpost, designed to ensure that the data and money that Twitter is extracting from the continent is maintained. And the boundaries of this office will be tested again and again at the end of the year, as Twitter was used to sow the seeds of discontent in many African countries.
Dorsey, in particular, saw Nigeria as a facilitator. In 2020, many Nigerians praised his tweets for donating to efforts to end state police brutality (#EndSARS). But his championing about it was contradictory as the same Twitter was used by Nigerian journalists, researchers, and activists to flag or ban many scams and misleading claims about #EndSARS and other abuses by Nigerian journalists. Repeated calls were ignored that were running too much on the platform. Then, just two months after the opening of Twitter’s African office, Nigerian President Muhammadu Bohari banned Twitter in the country for four months. This was after the platform deleted a tweet from Bukhari for violating the platform’s policy on abuse, but a presidential spokesman immediately noted that the ban was much more than a tweet. The spokesman said in an email to Bloomberg that “there are a lot of problems with the social media platform in Nigeria, where misinformation and the fake news spread through it have resulted in real world violence.” “Every time, the company escapes accountability.” Agreeing with a dictator’s spokesman is uncomfortable, but there was a point.
Perhaps nowhere in Africa has Dorsey’s Twitter failed more than in Ethiopia. As in Nigeria, the platform finds itself in a difficult position with a dictatorial government that has regularly blocked the Internet in the midst of a growing civil war. Last month, the platform announced that it was disabling its trending feature across Ethiopia, ostensibly to reduce the risk of losses. “Incitement to violence or dehumanization is against our laws.” The company explained in a tweet. “We hope that this measure will reduce the risk of a compromise that could provoke or harm violence.” This is a strange, backward argument. Make no mistake: although Dorsey will never explicitly admit it, removing the trending part Was Confession of guilt. Twitter felt it could not manage the rate at which it was promoting hateful content. But instead of acknowledging that it has designed Trends’ algorithm to easily become a weapon and make hate speech highly transferable, or noting that it is intentional to improve the feature. Will try, he effectively blamed the Ethiopians (for using this feature as a design). Here, too, Twitter borrows from the colonial playbook: accuse the colonists of harming Africans.
There is a trend of Twitter trends issue; It is also hurting the people of Kenya. In my research with the Mozilla Foundation, I explored how Twitter’s trending algorithm has helped boost the rental information industry in Kenya, and the attacks on Kenyan journalists. Suffering after the wave. When Pandora Papers accused the Kenyan president of amassing millions of dollars in offshore accounts, propagandists exploited Twitter to quell public outrage. When I reported my findings to Twitter, the best thing that the platform did was that it was a normal Wake-A-Mole approach, and the blasphemous accounts that I and my fellow researchers identified. Yes, they have to be suspended or deleted but no explanation has been given as to what, if anything. This will prevent propaganda from spreading.